David Norden's deep connection with the world of primitive art traces back to his childhood, shaped by the influence of his parents and his own personal experiences. Born into a family immersed in the appreciation of African art, Norden's journey began at a young age, fostering a profound passion for these extraordinary cultural artifacts.
His mother, Nadya Levi, a sculptor and collector of African art, and his father, Herman Norden, an antique dealer with a dedicated room filled with African art, books, and preserved birds, created an environment rich in artistic expression. .
His grand-father Karel Israel Norden also had several antique shops in DenHaag, one them dedicated to Egyptian Art.
David Norden's frequent trips to London auctions alongside his mother introduced him to captivating figures in the art world, such as Patricia Withofs and Gaston de Havenon. Additionally, encounters with influential individuals like Mrs. Huguette van Geluwe in Brussels and collectors like Willy Mestach, Simpson, Charles Raton, and Baron Rollin in Antwerp shaped his understanding of the art market.
Reflecting on his earliest connection to primitive art, Norden fondly recalls his mother's collection of Bassa and Dan masks. Adorning the walls side by side, these masks held a special place in his heart and instilled in him an appreciation for the diversity and beauty of African art.
As Norden's passion grew, he began his own journey as a collector and connoisseur of primitive art. His first purchase, a small miniature Etruscan stone tablet featuring a lion, marked the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of acquiring remarkable objects that captured his imagination.
Driven by an unquenchable thirst for discovery, Norden continuously seeks out new treasures. He possesses a particular desire to acquire a significant object once owned by Henry Pareyn, a pioneering collector and dealer in Antwerp during the early 20th century. Norden's approach to collecting is rooted in the emotional connection he forms with each piece, emphasizing the personal value they evoke rather than solely considering beauty, antiquity, and provenance.
Throughout his journey, Norden has found inspiration in numerous figures within the primitive art field. He admires those who possess a deep passion for African art and recognize its significance in the broader context of humanity. The profound impact of African art on Western artistic movements following World War I further fuels his admiration for the art form and its artists.
Looking ahead, Norden's enthusiasm for primitive art shows no signs of waning. With an ongoing book project awaiting completion, he is dedicated to sharing his extensive knowledge and experiences with a wider audience.
Considering the future of the primitive art market and African art in general, Norden acknowledges the challenges it faces. The African art market represents a small fraction of the overall antique market, with an abundance of counterfeit pieces. Determining authenticity remains a task reserved for a knowledgeable elite, while the market's limited size contributes to its volatility. Despite these challenges, Norden sees opportunities for discerning collectors to make valuable acquisitions, especially with the increasing recognition of contemporary African art.
Norden places great importance on the role of museums and cultural institutions in recognizing and promoting the significance of African art and its associated cultures. He commends the Musée du quai Branly for its remarkable exhibitions, which attract new audiences and foster appreciation for African primitive art. Norden also expresses anticipation for the emergence of museums on the African continent, with the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar serving as a beacon of hope.
David Norden's lifelong dedication to primitive art has solidified his position as a respected figure in the field. His unwavering passion, discerning eye, and commitment to preserving the legacy of African art continue to shape his remarkable journey. As he eagerly shares his knowledge and explores new horizons, Norden's contributions play an invaluable role in promoting the beauty and significance of primitive art to a global audience.
David Norden, a dealer who can help collector's, museums and art enthousiast, exploring and appreciating the beauty of these ancient cultural treasures.
Some pictures inside David Norden's shop in Antwerpen
If you have any question or want more pictures click here to mail David Norden -Sint Katelijnevest 27 – B2000 Antwerpen. Tel +32 3 227.35.40
To view a small selection of available pieces visit the online African art shop: